When I was eighteen, I spent my gap year travelling around south east Asia (cue eye roll) and came across larb – also spelt larp or laab – in Laos. I had never heard of it before but, as it was a regional speciality, I ordered it and absolutely ADORED it. Laab is a kind of meat salad usually made with minced pork, which is packed full of fresh, zingy flavour, thanks to lots of fresh lime juice, shallots, chilli and fresh mint. Those who know me will know that I’m a sucker for a bit of zing so I couldn’t wait to recreate it at home. My version of larb may or may not be 100% traditional – many recipes add toasted rice for extra nuttiness, some add lemon grass and many don’t use garlic – but this is how I make mine. It’s super acidic, fresh and delicious and, like all my recipes, really easy to make.
I always serve mine with white rice as that’s how it was served in Laos and it tastes best (in my opinion). But if you want to be healthier, it would also work with brown rice or some people like to go super healthy with it and serve it in little gem lettuce cups…but that’s a no from me hun.